Podcast Workshops Work – The silent power of visual facilitation

workshops work with dr myriam hadnes graphic recording podcast

I’m a guest on this week’s podcast Workshops Work with Dr Myriam Handes. She has a PhD that helps her understand what it is that gets in our way with group process – and has a toolbox of micro-interventions to help. She hosts an ongoing podcast about facilitation with guests around the world. I was pleased to be interviewed about graphic facilitation, and the role that visuals can play in creating meetings with more connection and belonging.


Myriam sent over a synopsis of our talk! Here’s her one pager based on our hour-long conversation, which could have been a six hour talk because we were having so much fun:

workshops work podcast with dr myriam hadnesThe nutshell: the silent power of graphic facilitation

“A graphic recorder listens deeply to the room to organize and synthesize the information in form of a visual. The recorder uses pictures, text, colour and grouping to highlight relevant parts of the conversation. The process of visual recording creates psychological safety for the group as it gives visibility to all voices and creates imagerie for things that remained unspoken. And, the visual shall have a life after the session to create opportunities to deepen and extend the engagement with the topic.

“If you begin with the heart work, we can go a long way.” – Sam Bradd 

The tool: graphic recording 

To effectively integrate visual recording into your session, follow these three steps: (1) Introduce yourself as recorder, explain why you are there and how you can help them. Invite them to the 2-way conversation, (2) create sufficient space to display the visuals, (3) ask for sufficient time at the end of the session to guide the group through the visual so that they can relate to it.

On why workshops fail:

A workshop was a fail if participants feel worse than when the session started. This happens if the facilitator disrespects the participants’ feelings or basic needs (for breaks, food and air).

Nugget one: where visual facilitation works

Visual facilitation works best in sessions that use dialogue and where participants build on each others’ ideas. Exercises that invite participants to use metaphors provide the best opportunities for creating meaningful visual records. Photo facilitation cards are a powerful tool to get people to use metaphors.

Nugget two: empathy

A visual recorder acts from a position of empathy. To create impactful visuals, start by asking how you can reflect the room’s ideas so that participants will be proud of their work and effort.

Do It Yourself: integration

Before closing the session, give participants time to review all outcomes and the visuals during a “Gallery walk”: (1) Hang all flipcharts and visuals on the wall, (2) equip participants with sticky-notes, (3) invite them to quietly revisit all outcomes, (4) they can work individually or in pairs and leave remarks, questions and ideas using the sticky notes.”

Read more about Myriam’s work and definitely subscribe to her podcast: https://idayz.nl/podcasts/

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